The question on everybody’s lips these days is “How do I make social media work for bringing in more business”. It’s quite amazing to see how these platforms have matured in such a short amount of time and how small businesses can foot it with the big ones by creating a huge online presence on a micro budget.
Once the perfect ground for poking, tagging and retweeting, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest have grown up to be extremely effective sales and marketing tools known to the humble entrepreneur.
At the same time as their meteoric rise in popularity, the competition to be seen, heard and even noticed on these social media sites, has increased triple fold.
The common trend I see is people trying to be everywhere and anywhere in the hopes of attracting more business, leads and traffic.
It’s a lot like watching people throw wet toilet paper at a ceiling and seeing what sticks. In other words – a pointless waste of time!
How To Make Social Media Work For You
What matters most on social media is a commitment to doing more of the right things on a regular basis. Rather than getting completely overwhelmed trying to stay on top of every new trend, it’s time to get strategic and maximize your time spent on social media to get you the results you want.
I’m going to pass on 5 key pieces of advice that you can apply to your social media efforts today so that you can use these platforms to effectively market your brand’s products and services, connect to your community and build your credibility.
#1 Go where your audience is.
You do not need to spend inordinate amounts of time on Facebook if you’re audience is hanging out on Twitter. You don’t need to spend hours each day answering LinkedIn questions if you’re ideal client is only using Pinterest.
Know which sites appeal to which users. For example Facebook’s dominant demographic is 54 years plus, female Mums. It’s primarily a platform used for sharing photos, key pieces of news, videos and staying connected to your favourite brands as well as keeping tabs on friends.
LinkedIn however targets the 30 year old professional in an executive position who earns around $100K plus a year. Twitter appeals to the 35+ media savvy, tech focused, brands, celebrities and those who want instant real time information.
Do your research online and find out which social media sites attract which type of person and then ensure you make your presence felt there.
#2 Know what to post to keep them engaged
Once you’ve found the right platforms you need to consider your marketing and content strategy. You want to be a giver not a promoter. Give and share valuable information, inspirational quotes, news articles, blog posts and advice to your community. Don’t spam them with continual sales focused updates – that’s a sure fire way to turn them off you for good. People interact most with photos and questions that start with ‘How do you….’ so make sure you put this to good use on the sites you’ve chosen.
Also consider broadcasting different pieces of information to stand out. For example if there’s a key topic that everyone is talking about, consider posting about something fresh and different to stand out in the stream of content people are scanning on Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook.
#3 Know when to reach them
There are certain times of the day when it’s better to post than others. The more you learn and apply this information continually gathered through online studies, the more success you’ll see.
For example posting at 9am (first thing in the morning when people head to work and check in on their favourite sites), 12pm (lunch break), 3pm (quick break) and the evening, are the smartest times to post. But that said don’t forget about weekends. For example if you’re in the entertainment, leisure or travel industry then weekends are more useful to post on. Forget about Monday too – I mean really who wants to check in on things on Monday when you’re commonly bombarded with too much info from every business wanting to get your attention.
#4 Don’t stop before you’ve started
I’m often baffled when people expect instantaneous results from just one action.
They post on Facebook or share an article on LinkedIn and expect massive amounts of traffic and engagement on those platforms. To build a community or an online empire, you need to do so one step at a time and then build on every action consistently. If you publish a new blog post then have it feed automatically on to your Facebook page, profile and Twitter. Add it to to your LinkedIn status and share it with some key groups and then do that all again over the next few days.
People see updates just once in amongst a plethora of 24/7 communications, so it’s likely they missed your first update. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and your influential circle to retweet, share or like your update to help spread the word. Then do the same for them and regularly.
It’s all about sharing and caring.
#5 Track your progress
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there. This famous saying also applies to your marketing efforts on social media.
If you’re out there networking, posting, publishing, commenting and engaging then you’re likely on the right track. But if you have nothing to benchmark it against then all this work can feel like it’s for no reason. So set some goals though and then you have tangible metrics to track.
Want to get 300 new likes in the next two months? Great – what tactics do you have in place to achieve that?
Keen to get 200 new Twitter followers over the next 4 weeks? Well, what strategies will you employ to build your following and what value will you offer to ensure they stick around?
Track these at least monthly and see where your efforts are paying off most using tools like Google Analytics, bit.ly reports, HootSuite click throughs and Facebook page analytics.
Putting it all together
At the end of the day you should treat social media like a workout. The more you exercise your muscles the stronger you will become.
To recap, remember to:
- Pick the social media sites where your audience is and just focus on those
- Post a variety of content and medium to keep your community engaged
- Ensure you’re posting at the times of the day when people are active on social media
- Keep doing this consistently and cross promote on each social network
- Make sure you set goals that you can track each month to ensure you’re making progress
Train regularly, be consistent in your efforts to workout on social media and watch your efforts pay off as you sculpt your social media marketing strategy into one that brings you consistent new fans and leads and potential new opportunities, clients and customers.
Natalie Sisson is a Suitcase Entrepreneur creating freedom in business and adventure in life for those wanting to create their ideal lifestyle. She ensures you use social media, online tools and outsourcing to build a business you love and can run from anywhere. She also runs her popular online program Sculpted Social Media to ensure you get maximum results with minimum efforts.